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Finalists for IPDC-UNESCO Rural Communication Prize for 2003 Announced

05-03-2004 (Paris)
Five projects in Madagascar, Nepal, Niger, Solomon Islands and Trinidad and Tobago were selected as nominees for the Rural Communication Prize of UNESCO's International programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), a competition for the most outstanding rural communications projects.
The $20,000 prize is awarded every two years to a person, group of people or one or more institutions or organizations for “their particularly meritorious and innovative actions aimed at improving communication and facilitating the participation of rural populations, especially in developing countries, in the economic, cultural and social life of their countries”.

A jury consisting of the IPDC Chairperson and the Bureau members will select the 2003 winner from the five finalists listed below:

Andrew Lees Trust “Projet Radio” - Madagascar

Started in 1999 with a pilot study to assess the information needs of isolated rural communities in South Madagascar, the project identified methodologies for creating access to education and information using radio to 350 villages, of which 95% of its villagers are illiterate. Programmes on health, food security and education were delivered in local language and has daily reached 93% of target audience. It is currently being upscaled to reach 1000 more villages in the region.

Community Radio Madanpokhara Palpa – Nepal

Community Radio Madanpokhara (CRM) developed out of a community audio tower project run by local women. Members of the community participate through a wide range of different forums, organizing themselves each month to decide on radio programmes based on the needs of their community. There is a network of 60 listener clubs and centres with strong participation from women, farmers and youth, which makes an annual action plan to stimulate creative and sustainable development work in their locality.

Fara’a Rural Radio – Niger

Fara’a rural radio set up a network of rural journalists. Called “relay correspondents”, they link the population, government departments, development support services and the radio station. The journalists are recruited from within the rural communities and receive basic training on news and information gathering and processing, including radio production. The launch of Radio Fara’a improved the flow of information between the authorities and the local population and helped create opportunities for democratic debate and increased participation in the management of community affairs.

People First Network Project (Pfnet) – Solomon Islands

The Pfnet is an ICT development project that supports peace building and poverty reduction through an improved access to information and increased communication capacity in rural areas. Its rural communications system consists of a growing network of solar-powered, community-owned and managed e-mail stations in remote and rural areas connected to the internet gateway in Honiara, disseminating local content dedicated to basic rural needs. Since January 2001, Pfnet has addressed to the poor and vulnerable rural communities through distance education, fostering of indigenous business development and encouragement of the participation of women in the information society.

Radio Toco – Trinidad and Tobago

Radio Toco is the first and only community-based radio station in Trinidad and Tobago, which came on stream in November 1997. Radio Toco informs and educates the community through news and interviews, promotes community development, motivates women to become more proactive and supports sustainable development. It has given rise to social awareness and has engaged in the training of young people from the communities in radio broadcasting. To date, the station services a listenership of 80,000, including the sister island of Tobago.

The award ceremony for the chosen winner, a part of the 24th session of the IPDC, will be attended by representatives of the Council’s 39 Member States.

Since it was set up in 1980, the IPDC has provided more than $90 million to support about a thousand communication projects in 137 countries.
Related themes/countries

      · Nepal: News Archive 2004
      · Solomon Islands: News Archive
      · Niger: News Archive
      · Trinidad and Tobago: News Archive
      · Madagascar: News Archives
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